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Research Article

Boosting alkaline hydrogen evolution performance by constructing ultrasmall Ru clusters/Na+, K+-decorated porous carbon composites

Mingxiu Duan1Tie Shu2Jingwei Li3Daliang Zhang3Li-Yong Gan4( )Ke Xin Yao2,3( )Qiang Yuan1( )
State-Local Joint Laboratory for Comprehensive Utilization of Biomass, Center for R&D of Fine Chemicals, College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Guizhou University, Guiyang 550025, China
School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Chongqing University, Chongqing 400044, China
Multi-scale Porous Materials Center, Institute of Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies & School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Chongqing University, Chongqing 400044, China
College of Physics and Center of Quantum Materials and Devices, Chongqing University, Chongqing 401331, China
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Graphical Abstract

Hydrophilic nanocomposites of Ru clusters (~ 1.30 nm) anchored on Na+, K+-decorated porous carbon (Ru/Na+, K+-PC) have been achieved. The Ru/Na+, K+-PC exhibits ultralow overpotential of 7 mV at 10 mA·cm−2 and long-term durability of 20,000 cycles potential cycling and 200 h chronopotentiometric measurement with a negligible decrease in activity.

Abstract

The construction of efficient and durable electrocatalysts with highly dispersed metal clusters and hydrophilic surface for alkaline hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) remains a great challenge. Herein, we prepared hydrophilic nanocomposites of Ru clusters (~ 1.30 nm) anchored on Na+, K+-decorated porous carbon (Ru/Na+, K+-PC) through hydrothermal method and subsequent annealing treatment at 500 °C. The Ru/Na+, K+-PC exhibits ultralow overpotential of 7 mV at 10 mA·cm−2, mass activity of 15.7 A·mgRu−1 at 100 mV, and long-term durability of 20,000 cycles potential cycling and 200 h chronopotentiometric measurement with a negligible decrease in activity, much superior to benchmarked commercial Pt/C. Density functional theory based calculations show that the energy barrier of H–OH bond breaking is efficiently reduced due to the presence of Na and K ions, thus favoring the Volmer step. Furthermore, the Ru/Na+, K+-PC effectively employs solar energy for obtaining H2 in both alkaline water and seawater electrolyzer. This finding provides a new strategy to construct high-performance and cost-effective alkaline HER electrocatalyst.

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Nano Research
Pages 8836-8844
Cite this article:
Duan M, Shu T, Li J, et al. Boosting alkaline hydrogen evolution performance by constructing ultrasmall Ru clusters/Na+, K+-decorated porous carbon composites. Nano Research, 2023, 16(7): 8836-8844. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12274-023-5558-5
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Received: 15 November 2022
Revised: 07 February 2023
Accepted: 09 February 2023
Published: 13 March 2023
© Tsinghua University Press 2023
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